Career Center Directors Know How To Fix Grad Unemployment, But Administrators Are Not Listening!

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Another 1,700,000 graduates are hitting the streets this summer, each looking for a dream job and a chance to start a professional life.

All seem to be aware, but most do not admit, that they are in competition for jobs with not only their fellow graduates, but the 8 million unemployed, 7 million underemployed, and –some say–5 million people that have stopped actively looking for a job.

All have high hopes, but few are aware that it takes the average grad nearly 8 months to find a job.  That’s unfortunate!   A grad with a job immediately after graduation that pays $15 per hour earns enough in 8 months to nearly pay off his or her student loans!  In a previous blog post I shared that the Class of 2013 will collectively lose out on $50 BILLION dollars in salary!

It doesn’t have to be that way! 

With the right knowledge, skills and focus, I’m convinced more grads could have jobs lined up by graduation day.

…and there are plenty of studies to prove it.   NACE has conducted surveys and found that students who invest time in career development and who visit the career center not only get internships, but are more likely to have jobs lined up, in their fields of study, at higher pay!

Other studies have been trying to get management’s attention!

There are a half a dozen reports by organizations like the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, Addeco, HERI, John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and the Associated Press that have identified issues college graduates are facing; however, little is being done at the executive level to solve the problems.

These reports, and others, seem to have fallen on deaf ears as upper management’s response has been to cut career centers’ budgets. In fact, in the past year, according to NACE surveys, the average career center budget was slashed 15%!

In an effort to help administrations understand these issues and share solutions with management, the Career Advisory Board surveyed nearly 600 career center directors.

Its recommendations?

  1. Require career courses.
  2. Cultivate relationships with faculty to promote career exploration and management.
  3. Move the career center to higher traffic areas.
  4. Hire student ambassadors.
  5. Hire more staff.
  6. Work with third party providers.

I’m not sure why those studies have not encouraged the president’s committee to invest more and put a greater focus on careers on campus but the reality is that a generation of grads is being dumped on the streets to “find their its own way.”

What has baffled me is that only a handful of colleges are providing their career centers with the resources and authority to act on these recommendations.  Each year, despite all the bad news about unemployed and underemployed grads, in reckless ignorance, college administrations continue to ignore the issue.

Sooner or later, a perfect storm of grad unemployment, underemployment, and price pressure from low cost online educations, along with a more savvy prospective customer base is going to wake up the president’s round table.

I hope you can get the ear of your president before it’s too late!


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Don Philabaum
Love to find ways to use technology help more grads and alumni develop successful career strategies.
Don Philabaum
Don Philabaum
Don Philabaum

One thought on “Career Center Directors Know How To Fix Grad Unemployment, But Administrators Are Not Listening!

  1. 30+ years ago, when I started my career at NYU’s Placement Center, we said the same thing, as they moved our offices from one remote location to another, ignoring our requests for more staff, better facilities and money to conduct better outreach…so things have not changed. Now I work for a non-profit that handles Career Counseling and Placement for all ages but at this time of year I see an increase of recent college grads who have spent 4 years not thinking or doing anything about their careers and then they wonder why it is so difficult for them to convince an employer to call them back. The difference is that now I also deal with the parents who are outraged that they spent all this money on their children’s college education and their children are so ill prepared for the real world. What Career Service Centers need to do is engage the parents, who are paying the bills and do not want their 22 year olds back living at home and unemployed after they killed themselves scrimping and saving to put their beloved children through school. Get the parents of freshman to write/call and put pressure on the Senior Administrative staff. When the bill payers/consumers are up in arms, maybe the Administration will listen. Just a thought!

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